The Arizona women’s volleyball team (10-11, 1-8 Pac-10) finishes off its four-match home stand by hosting No. 11 California (15-5, 4-5 Pac-10) on Friday, Oct. 27 and No. 3 Stanford (17-2, 8-1 Pac-10) on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center. Arizona is in the middle of a stretch in which the Wildcats will face five-consecutive ranked opponents. Friday’s match opens the final half of Arizona’s Pac-10 schedule.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA:
Last week, the Wildcats fell to Washington State and No. 6 Washington in McKale Center. Arizona lost to Washington State (3-1) at home for the first time since 1995, despite posting 54 kills to the Cougars’ 46. Arizona then took on No. 6 Washington and played the Huskies tough for a 3-1 loss. The Wildcats posted a .189 hitting percentage (54-22-169) against UW, a big improvement from their .055 (54-44-181) mark against the Cougars. Arizona also tallied 17.0 blocks to the Huskies 8.5 blocks in the match.
On the season, sophomore Brooke Buringrud leads the team with 3.79 kills per game, 0.41 service aces per game, and is second on the team with 2.68 digs per game. Freshman Whitney Dosty posts 3.21 kills per game, and junior Dominique Lamb adds 2.51 kills per game, a .312 hitting percentage, and a team-best 1.55 blocks per game average. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard averages a team-high 3.81 digs per game.
As a team, Arizona is hitting .173 on the season, while limiting opponents to a .155 hitting percentage. Arizona also bests its opposition in every other team statistical category.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
California ?- The University of California-Berkeley Golden Bears (15-5, 4-5 Pac-10) enter Friday’s match ranked No. 11 in the nation. Cal ended a four-match losing streak on Friday with a sweep at home over Oregon State. As a team, Cal hits .259 (1075-421-2529), and averages 16.04 kills, 3.17 blocks, 15.19 digs, and 1.54 service aces per game. Individually, the Golden Bears are led by junior Angie Pressey who averages 4.36 kills per game, fourth in the Pac-10, with a .301 hitting percentage. Freshman Hana Cutura adds 3.88 kills per game, and sophomore Morgan Beck chips in with 2.78 kills per game and 1.22 blocks per game.
Stanford ?- The Stanford University Cardinal (17-2, 8-1 Pac-10 enter this week at No. 3 in the national rankings. The Cardinal are currently riding a seven-match winning streak into its match on Friday at Arizona State. All of Stanford’s wins so far this season, except for one, are of the sweep variety. As a team, Stanford owns a .300 hitting percentage, which is good for second in the Pac-10, while posting 15.12 kills per game. Stanford is first in the Pac-10 with 1.75 service aces per game, second behind Arizona with 3.28 blocks per game, and third in the conference with 15.12 assists per game. Individually, sophomore Cynthia Barboza leads the team with 4.65 kills per game, and owns a .306 hitting percentage. Sophomore Foluke Akinradewo averages 3.62 kills per game, a team-best .423 hitting percentage, and a team-high 1.54 blocks per game average.
California ?- Friday’s match will mark the 44th match between the Wildcats and the Golden Bears. Arizona leads the all-time series 32-11, but Cal defeated Arizona 3-1 on Sept. 30 in Haas Pavilion. Arizona and Cal have split their season series the past four-consecutive years, as the Golden Bears have not won in Tucson since 2003.
Stanford ?- Arizona and Stanford will meet for the 54th time in school history on Saturday, with the Cardinal owning a 46-7 all-time series advantage over the Wildcats. Stanford beat Arizona 3-0 on Sept. 29 in Maples Pavilion.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10 AND NCAA:
Junior Dominique Lamb ranks third in the Pac-10 and 19th nationally in blocks (1.55). Senior Stephanie Butkus is seventh in the conference in assists (11.41), while sophomore Brooke Buringrud is third in service aces (0.41). Freshman Jacy Norton is fifth in the conference and 26th nationally in blocks (1.46), and sophomore Brittany Leonard is ninth in the Pac-10 in digs (3.81 dpg).
Arizona’s Oregon Trail was a huge week for individual milestones. Against Oregon State, sophomore Brooke Buringrud tallied 13 kills in route to her 250th career kill, and posted four blocks for the 40th of her career. Senior Stephanie Butkus posted her 3,500th career assist against the Beavers, and earned her 600th dig against Washington State. Freshman Whitney Dosty posted 10 kills against OSU on the way to the 200th kill in her career, while junior Katie Jackels notched her 275th career dig in Corvallis, Ore. Junior Dominique Lamb tallied the 300th block of her career, her 425th career kill, and is now 11 digs away from 100. Sophomore libero Brittany Leonard now has 637 career digs, and classmate Randy Goodenough posted the 100th kill in her career and now owns 56 career blocks.
The Wildcats have steadily been moving up the leaderboard in blocks. Currently first among the Pac-10 Conference schools with a 3.38 BPG average, a figure that ranks 12th in the nation, the Wildcats have posted double-digit team stuffs in 15 of their last 16 matches. Arizona had a season-high 21 blocks against Arizona State on Sept. 22 and nearly matched that figure against No. 3-ranked UCLA when it finished with 20. In 21 matches played this year, UA has finished with 10 or more blocks 17 times.
Arizona and Stanford should provide plenty of rejections in Saturday’s match. The Cats and the Cardinal rank No.1 and No. 2 respectively in the Pac-10 in team blocks. Arizona averages 3.38 blocks per game, while Stanford notches 3.28 blocks per game.
Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb is working her way up the block charts at UA. With 317 total stuffs, Lamb needs 7 more to move into a tie with former All-American Barb Bell for 10th all-time at Arizona, and her current career average of 1.24 blocks per game places her third in school history behind only Kelly Waage (1.43) and Stephanie Murry (1.26). Lamb's 312 total blocks is currently third among all active Pac-10 players.
Freshman Alanna Resch made an immediate impact on the Arizona lineup this past week against Washington State and Washington. Against the Cougars, Resch posted a career-best seven kills with a .385 hitting percentage, to go with five digs. Against No. 6 Washington, she notched two kills with a career-best nine digs.
In just her third year playing volleyball, freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty has demonstrated her athleticism in the young season as she is averaging 3.21 kills per game, second-best on the team. She had a career-high 18 kills in Arizona's five-game loss to Northwestern on Sept. 16, and had a team-high 17 against Washington on Friday.
DYCK IN A NEW ROLE:
After spending the majority of last season as the starting setter for Arizona, junior Amy Dyck finds herself in a new position. The Sandpoint, Idaho, playing opposite, is averaging 1.35 digs and 1.37 kills a game. Against Tennessee Tech, Dyck posted career highs of 14 kills and 17 digs.
LEONARD AT LIBERO:
As a freshman last season, Brittany Leonard set the Arizona single season record for digs per game at 3.70. In 21 matches this year, the sophomore is averaging a team-best 3.81 digs per game.
NORTON AT THE NET:
With the loss of MB Kristina Baum for the year, the Wildcats will need someone to step up. True freshman Jacy Norton has made an early bid to be that player. In the 14 matches since Baum went down with her knee injury, Norton is averaging 1.51 blocks per game, 1.68 kills and is hitting at a .220 clip, numbers that are very similar to Baum's prior to her injury (1.00 BPG, 1.59 KPG, .237 hitting percentage)
Arizona has dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season. Arizona has a long tradition in the top 25, having been listed in 120 of the last 132 polls, dating back to the 1998 season. The previous nine-week lapse occurred during the 2003 season.
Head Coach Dave Rubio boasts a 288-152 record (.655) in 15 seasons at the helm of the Wildcat program. Last year, he not only became the winningest coach in Arizona history, but he notched his 400th career victory in the team's win over Ohio in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. In 20 years as a head coach, Rubio has a 410-218 (.653) record.
BUTKUS BECOMES FOURTH PLAYER TO REACH 3,000:
When she dished out her 3,000th career assist at Louisville on Sept. 2, senior Stephanie Butkus became just the fourth Wildcat ever to surpass the plateau. If she continues at her current pace, Butkus would finish her career with 3,987 assists, good for third place all-time behind assistant coach Dana Burkholder and Laura Bartsch. Butkus is currently third among active Pac-10 setters with 3,641 total assists, a figure that places her fourth all-time at Arizona. What's more impressive about her numbers is the fact that she missed the majority of last season with a knee injury.
LAMB GOES 4-FOR-4 WITH ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS:
After going two years without being picked, junior Dominique Lamb went a perfect 4-for-4 this season on all-tournament team selections. In the first week of the season, during the Arizona Invitational, she averaged 2.20 kills, 1.60 blocks, 0.50 digs and 0.40 service aces over the three matches. At Louisville's Courtyard by Marriott Airport East Classic, the middle blocker posted averages of 3.27 kills, 0.73 blocks and 0.45 service aces. At the Four Points Sheraton Wildcat Classic, Lamb averaged 2.91 kills and 2.09 blocks. Last weekend, at Northwestern's Wildcat Classic, she hit a team-best .438 and averaged 2.92 kills and 1.33 blocks per game.
A BUMMER FOR BAUMER:
Senior middle blocker Kristina Baum will miss the remainder of the 2006 season after injuring her right knee in the first game of Arizona's Sept. 8 match against Bradley. Baum, who will attempt to regain her senior year through either a redshirt season or a medical hardship, has racked up 610 career kills in 98 matches played at Arizona. She has hit .275 during her career and averaged 1.83 kills, 1.45 digs and 0.69 blocks per game.
BIG SHOES TO FILL:
With the graduation of all-time kills leader and three-time All-American Kim Glass, third-team All-American Jennifer Abernathy and four-time All-Pac-10 selection Bre Ladd, Arizona lost a considerable amount of not only its offense, but its defense, as well. The trio accounted for 71 percent of last year's service aces, 70 percent of the kills and 46 percent of the team's digs.
As always, Arizona faces a tough schedule this season. The Wildcats play 14 matches against nine teams that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats also face six teams (California, Louisville, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington) that were ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll. The Pac-10 schedule will again be difficult as the conference continues to show its dominance. Last year, six Pac-10 teams competed in the NCAA Tournament and all six advanced to the second round. Three teams advanced to the Sweet 16, two to the Elite Eight and Washington won the national championship.
With Washington capturing the NCAA title last season, the Pac-10 has now won five consecutive national championships (Washington in 2005, Stanford in 2004 and 2001, USC in 2003 and 2002), including the last three by three different teams. Pac-10 teams have claimed 13 of the sport's 25 NCAA championships.
Arizona will travel to Los Angeles to take on USC on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in the new Galen Center, and UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.